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The county nursing home has been drowning in the red for some time, but some assistance has arrived in the form of a $4.1 million Inter-Governmental Transfer to pay off past-due expenses.

“It’s a financial scheme by the federal government to help assist municipally-owned nursing homes to help pay for their deficits,” County Treasurer Scott German said.

It will go to covering the nursing home’s 2013 expenses and will be transferred to the county next month. The funding will also assist the nursing home offset the reimbursement differences between Medicaid and Medicare.

Of the $8.4 million IGT funds its received, taxpayers paid an amount equal to 50 percent.

“The county has to pay 50 percent of the IGT payment amount and then the federal government pays the other 50 percent,” German said. “When the county pays $2 million in, the nursing home gets back $4 million, as an example.”

County manager Jay Gsell says the federal government is phasing out the program.

Once there’s no IGT or similar replacement, the local share cost of running the nursing home will likely be $3 million a year and growing annually. The operating deficit will need to be funded by local taxpayers.

County Legislature members will meet with an attorney to help them explore options for the nursing home. County-owned nursing homes have declined in the last two decades.

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